Yayoi Kambara wearing a purple turtleneck and standing outside against a cement wall

Dance (MFA)

Yayoi Kambara has been a Bay Area dance artist since 2000. Kambara was a company member with ODC/Dance from 2003 to 2015 and danced as a freelance artist with numerous Bay Area dance companies, including Sara Shelton Mann Contraband, Scott Wells and Dancers, Flyaway Productions, Deborah Slater Dance Theater, STEAMROLLER, and Pearl Ubungen Dancers and Musicians. She was  rehearsal director for AXIS Dance Company during Judith Smith’s sabbatical in 2015 and continues to teach company class for AXIS. Kambara currently choreographs and directs movement for the Center for Contemporary Opera, New York, New York, where she integrates visual design, including film, with voice and physical storytelling. Kambara finished her fellowship in the fourth cohort of APAP (Association of Performing Arts Professionals) Leadership Fellows Program in 2020 and led a year-long community engagement residency for Hope Mohr Dance’s Bridge Project Aesthetic Shift, an exchange among dance educators, social justice activists and choreographers, dedicated to interrogating and analyzing the overlap among equity values, creative practices and organizations. KAMBARA+ was founded in 2015 as a vehicle to produce her choreography, which focuses on creating dance performance experiences that cultivate a sense of belonging. She focuses her choreography on diverse cultural, economic and ethnic differences by creating space for empathy and dialogue. Her project IKKAI means once: a transplanted pilgrimage was commissioned by the San Jose Japanese American Citizens League and will premiere in 2023 in San Jose and San Francisco. IKKAI shares the experiences of those illegally incarcerated during World War II and dares to dream of a collective future where this kind of injustice will never happen again. Kambara is the lead artist for this project, which is funded by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation Hewlett 50 Award. She is also a cohort member of Dancing Around Race (DAR) to look at the role race plays in dance production and presentation. DAR asks how our work as artists functions in society and how the communities we engage with are considered, internalized and reflected through our work.

Visit the KAMBARA+ website.

Learn more about the MFA in Dance.